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Case Number 10304: Small Claims Court

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Ghost Whisperer: The First Season

Paramount // 2005 // 960 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // November 8th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum hears dead people...barely.

Editor's Note

Our review of Ghost Whisperer: The Second Season, published November 28th, 2007, is also available.

The Charge

The dead are talking…and Jennifer Love Hewitt is listening.

The Case

Jennifer Love Hewitt (I Know What You Did Last Summer) is my celebrity stalker. I swear, it's true. Every single time I go to Los Angeles for vacation and purposefully try to spot celebrities, she is the only one I ever find. At a movie premiere, shopping in a trendy store, or grabbing lunch at an LA hotspot—every time I see stars it's Jennifer Love Hewitt and her posse. The only explanation I can give you for this is we're both Texans, which means we have a knack for finding each other (and Jennifer Love Hewitt is damn easy to spot). She's a tiny woman with big eyes and an unmistakable voice. So I feel destined to write about Ghost Whisperer: The Complete First Season. She sees dead people, and I only see her. My reaction to her when I bump into her in person and in the series is about the same: a cute surprise.

Ghost Whisperer was developed by CBS in 2005 and is still running (as of this writing) on Friday nights. It wasn't developed specifically for Jennifer, but after a failed attempt at another show she was available. Love found herself willing to play a young newlywed who sees spirits in a small town. For CBS it was a kinder, gentler version of Medium, which fit better on their network. The plots are advised by a pair of real "ghost specialists," and the series claims to be pretty accurate according to the ghostbusters who are employed by the network. The cast is small, focusing only on the lead character named Melinda Gordon (Hewitt), her husband Jim Clancy (David Conrad, Roswell), and best friend Andrea Moreno (Aisha Tyler, Talk Soup). Each week Melinda encounters a ghostly spirit who has not "crossed over" in to the light, and she helps it get done what it needs to do to make it safely to where dead spirits go. Ghost Whisperer avoids religion, but strives to be positive in many ways (much like The Sixth Sense, if you crossed it with Touched By an Angel).

Ghost Whisperer is guilty fun, and surprisingly moving in many episodes. Things don't get too scary aside from a disturbing image or two. One of the conceits has the spirits looking horrific at first, but more normal as they achieve communication with their loved ones through Melinda. By the end, gore is replaced by smiling, cherubic faces entering bright white lights. It's soft, sweet, and uplifting. If you're looking for a dark, trippy ride this ain't it. Yet the three leads have good chemistry, the writing is fine, and celebrity cameos are in good supply. Jennifer Love Hewitt looks gorgeous, and she brings an innocent wonder to the world created. It's hard to imagine the pixie woman I've seen flitting around LA bounding into woods after dangerous angry spirits, but she makes it work.

Ghost Whisperer: The Complete First Season is a comprehensive, six-DVD set which includes all twenty-two episodes of the inaugural run of the show. Most episodes can stand alone, but a plot arc about a mysterious man with a wide brim hat ends in a season-finale cliffhanger. The transfers are clean, crisp, widescreen presentations perfect to view on your high definition widescreen television. Full surround sound insures you'll hear creaks and spooky noises all around the room. Special features include almost an entire disc of featurettes, which includes cast and crew interviews, a discussion with the "real" clairvoyants who advise the show, a tour of the set, a discussion of the opening credits mythology, a look at the effects, and a blooper reel. Scattered throughout the set are various deleted scenes and commentaries that include everyone but Jennifer Love Hewitt herself. The only downside of the presentation is that some of the music has been changed for this collection. Music rights are hard to clear for DVD, so some of your favorite pop songs from the original run are missing. This solid set is hindered only by the music changes and the absence of Jennifer Love Hewitt from the majority of the extras (she does appear in some prerecorded clips).

If you like the show as it airs, Ghost Whisperer: The Complete First Season is a wise investment. It has a lot of supporting material as well as some beautiful transfers. If you're not familiar with the series, it's a likable mix of supernatural, feel-good moments with a little creep mixed in. Nothing here should be too intense for kids, so it's a fine show for family viewing. Its relationships are refreshingly positive and the endings are uplifting. Jennifer Love Hewitt leads an attractive trio, and as the series progresses we learn more of how she developed her talent to counsel the recently deceased. It is good, guilty entertainment. No deep heavy political issues are raised, but it goes by pleasantly enough with some attractive people and good production values. We learn the answer to every mystery the Ghost Whisperer encounters, save for the reason that every time I go to LA I bump into Hewitt. Perhaps I am simply a wandering dead spirit with some unfinished business only she can help me solve.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 83

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 960 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Horror
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary on Four Episodes From Cast and Crew
• Deleted Scenes for three episodes
• Featurette on the First Season
• Featurette on the Real Clairvoyant Advisors
• Featurette on the Set
• Featurette on the Opening Credits
• Featurette on F/X
• Blooper Reel

Accomplices

• IMDb
• IMDb: Episode Guide








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